Black Forest gateau

Black Forest gateau

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(47 ratings)

Cook: 40 mins Prep 1 hr plus cooling


Serves 8 - 10

Impress your guests with this chocolate cherry layered cream cake - a revamped version of a retro classic

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per serving (10)

  • kcal859
  • fat48.9g
  • saturates29.9g
  • carbs93.7g
  • sugars73.6g
  • fibre2.6g
  • protein7.2g
  • salt0.7g
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  • 175g salted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 200g bar dark chocolate
    Dark chocolate soup pots with double cream in spoons

    Dark chocolate

    dahk chok-o-let

    Dark chocolate means the shiny, dark-reddish brown treat produced from the cacao bean, theobroma…

  • 300g plain flour
  • 375g golden caster sugar
  • 25g cocoa
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
    Bicarbonate of soda

    Bicarbonate of soda

    Bicarbonate of soda, or baking soda, is an alkali which is used to raise soda breads and full-…

  • 2 medium eggs
  • 200g buttermilk or natural yoghurt
    Buttermilk pancake mixture in bowl with whisk



    There are two types of buttermilk. Traditional buttermilk is a thin, cloudy, slightly tart but…

To assemble

  • 425g can pitted cherry, 2 tbsp juice reserved, rest drained



    One of the delights of the summer, cherries are much loved for their succulent texture, flavour…

  • 100g morello cherry jam



    One of the delights of the summer, cherries are much loved for their succulent texture, flavour…

  • 4 tbsp kirsch (or more juice from a can if you want it to be non-alcoholic)



    Produced in mainly in Germany, but also in Switzerland and the Alsace region of France, Kirsch…

  • 500ml tub double cream
  • 3 tbsp icing sugar
  • 1 small punnet fresh cherries (optional)



    One of the delights of the summer, cherries are much loved for their succulent texture, flavour…


  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease and line the base of 3 x 20cm cake tins. Boil the kettle. Put the butter and 75g chocolate broken into chunks in a small pan and gently heat, stirring, until completely melted.

  2. Mix together the flour, sugar, cocoa and bicarbonate of soda with a pinch of salt in a mixing bowl. Whisk the eggs and buttermilk or yogurt together. Scrape the melted chocolate mixture and egg mixture into the dry ingredients, add 100ml boiling water and whizz briefly with an electric whisk until the cake batter is lump free.

  3. Divide the mixture between the tins and bake for 25 mins, swapping the tins round after 20 mins if they’re on different shelves. To test they're done, push in a skewer and check that it comes out clean.

  4. Prick the cakes a few times with a skewer. Mix together the 2 tbsp reserved cherry juice and the kirsch (or more juice) and drizzle over the cakes. Cool the cakes.

  5. Mix together the remaining drained cherries and jam. Tip 200ml of the cream into a small pan and heat until just below simmering point. Chop the remaining chocolate and put in a heatproof bowl, pour over the hot cream and stir until melted. Set aside until spreadable.

  6. When the cakes are cool whisk the remaining cream and the icing sugar together until softly whipped. Spread over two of the cakes, then spoon over the jammy cherries. Stack the cakes together. Spread the chocolate cream over the third cake and sit on top of the other cakes. Pile the fresh cherries in and around the cake and serve

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Comments, questions and tips

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elenaiksar's picture
2nd Jul, 2018
Tried this lovely recipe this weekend! It was so delicious!!!
12th Feb, 2018
Delicious cake! I made the sponges the day before. I added a little more kirsch to the cherry and jam for some extra flavour and I left out the icing sugar from the cream as I thought it would be too sweet.
Kelly Petersen's picture
Kelly Petersen
5th Jan, 2018
The cakes rose beautifully, but they turned out very close-textured and dry with not very much chocolate flavor. I do love a black forest gateau though, so next time I make one I'll stick to my tried and true recipe for chocolate cake and will use this simply for the assembly method.
18th Sep, 2017
I tried making this cake yesterday and the sponge was a complete disaster. Turned out like flat pancakes that could be used as weapons. They also tasted like a very poor attempt at brownies, needless to say they went in the bin. I also thought there wasnt enough cherry filling so i made a bit more and there was far too much chocolate topping, you really only need half of the ingredients. What with the bad sponges and the incorrect recipe quantities i don't rate this.
28th Aug, 2016
Worked fantastically for me. Can't understand why there are people saying it didn't rise. I actually had to slice parts off to make it flat because it rose so much. I used buttermilk not yoghurt in case that made a difference. I listened to previous reviews and halved the chocolate cream. Lovely cake! Thanks!
11th Aug, 2016
No problems with the cakes falling apart, will use this sponge recipie for other cakes. Definitely too much chocolates topping, and it wasn't 'cherryie' enough for my brother in law so may try adding cherry flavour next time. Other than that, I found it easy to do and I'm no expert baker!
6th Mar, 2016
Very good recipe and easy to follow.Only trouble was I completely messed things up trying to transfer to a cake stand!!Never mind try again in a few weeks.
3rd Jan, 2016
Made for New Year's dinner, delicious! Made the sponges the day before and left to cool completely before removing from tins. Too much chocolate cream for the top. Would use the recipe for the sponges to create a different cake :)
2nd Jan, 2016
Many if the comments here show this recipe to be negative. I followed it exactly and found it worked perfectly. I just wish I was watching my ganache better as I had to use a pan of water to soften it so I could spread it!! Fab cake tasted amazing looked very similar to the picture!!
2nd Jan, 2016
Turned out excellent! Made it as two layers and had enough cake mixture left for a little tester pot. I used a tin of cherry fruit filling which negated the need to use jam. I didn't use any kirsch or cherry juice to drizzle over the cake and it was still perfectly moist. As advised by previous reviews I also used a little more chocolate in the ganache. It looked fab and in two layers it was stable and easy to cut.


6th Jan, 2016
I'm new to baking but not entirely useless but wondered if any of you bakers could help me with this. Just reading the instructions "scrape the melted chocolate mixture and egg mixture into the dry ingredients". Its a little vague here as I am unsure if this is the same process as folding. Can anyone confirm if this is folding? Also do yih mix the chocolate into the egg mixture first before adding to the dry mixture? Do you wait for the chocolate mixture to cool to prevent the cooking of the eggs? It as states "add boiling water" is this gradually as my fear that the eggs will cook. Can anyone help here and elaborate as some buts appear a little sketchy ... Thank you all in advance x
14th Jun, 2014
So if I substitute plain flour for self raising do I use same qtnys? And just not bicarbonate? Thanks :)
1st Sep, 2013
I don't have a fridge. How long can I keep the Black Forest cake at room temperature without it losing its taste? What should be the ideal taste?
23rd Oct, 2015
I make this every year for my birthday and it's always gorgeous! Make the sponge bases at least the day before. They will be a lot firmer and easier to handle. I use frozen cherries mixed with a good quality cherry jam for the filling. Spread the jam on the sponges and put the cream on top - a lot easier! Whip the cream until its quite firm (not softly whipped) this stops it just running out the cake. Don't spread the jam/cream right to the edge-the weight of the cake will push it out! I'm always left with too much melted chocolate-use your common sense just put enough to make a nice circle on the top of the cake, too much and it will pour over the side! Any chocolate/cream mixture left gets put into the fridge and made into truffles. Assemble it and put it into the fridge to firm up before trying to slice it, it's one of those cakes that is better the next day!